Patna to get India’s first Dolphin Research Centre in October

Patna, July 13: With only about 2,000 Gangetic river dolphins left, India likely to get its first dolphin research centre on October 5.

The move aims for the conservation of the dolphins of the endangered Gangetic River in the country, for which the NDRC will play a crucial role by further strengthening the conservation practices.

"We are in final stages to commence work to set up the NDRC after some formalities are cleared between the department and Patna University," Surendra Singh, Conservator of Forests and Additional Secretary, Department of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, told IANS.

Echoing this, Santosh Tiwari, Chief Conservator of Forests-cum Chief Executive Officer, Wildlife Conservation Fund, told IANS: We are ready to set up the NDRC as soon as possible because it is a priority for us."

The man behind the proposal is RK Sinha, an expert on Gangetic river dolphins and chairperson of the working group for dolphin conservation set up by the central government.

The state government observes October 5 as 'Dolphin Day' in Bihar for protection and conservation of Gangetic river dolphin to create awareness to save the endangered species.

Gangetic river dolphins fall under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and have been declared an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The Gangetic river dolphin is one of the four freshwater dolphin species in the world. The other three are found in the Yangtze river in China, the Indus river in Pakistan and the Amazon river in South America.

A recent survey conducted by WWF-India and its partners in the entire distribution range in the Ganga and Brahamaputra river system - around 6,000 km - identified fewer than 2,000 individuals in India.

Today the population has a much reduced range, and is divided by dams into isolated groups. The lowest estimate for the total population is 1,200-1,800 individuals.

Although the population size has decreased compared to historical levels, it is still considered to be large enough to sustain the species in the future if adequate conservation measures are taken soon.

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